Who dare say that the Original Sacher-Torte is simply a piece of cake? It is so much more. It is a rich and decadent edible masterpiece provided by a Viennese institution that does not rest on its laurels: Café Sacher. The Original Sacher-Torte and Vienna are synonymous and this unique and outstanding torte is actually served in a number of hotels, restaurants and cafes. However, any place that is not Café Sacher does not provide the Original Sacher-Torte which has been made from a closely guarded recipe for centuries.
Any replica that you have of the Sacher-Torte will be no competition to the Original Sacher-Torte and you are strongly advised not to invest your time or taste buds in sampling this torte elsewhere. I tell you this from my experience of indulging in the replicas across Austria, none of which can really compare with the Original Sacher-Torte. The only thing that such an experiment gained was additional weight on the waistline. Save yourself from all of this and simply head over to Café Sacher in Vienna at Philharmoniker Str. 4, 1010, which is situated on the ground floor of the luxurious Hotel Sacher which is located in the heart of Vienna, across from the Vienna Opera House.
A history that goes back to 1832
Café Sacher is open from 8.00 am until 12.00 am. Expect a queue to enter in light of its history, popularity and the fact that eating in it is correctly listed in every guidebook as a “must do”. The Hotel and Café were opened in 1876 and you will be able to get a feel for the old glamour from the doorman and from the moment you enter and see the servers and interior. The waitresses are wearing black and white aprons with white caps and will float around seamlessly from greeting you to seating you at your table and they won’t be surprised if all you order is the Original Sacher-Torte. Their uniforms are very reminiscent of the 19th century and will add to creating the vibe that you’re in a different period in history. The history of the Original Sacher-Torte can also be found on the dainty and informative menu.
It was first invented in Austria in 1832 at the request of Prince Metternich who sought a special dessert for a banquet. The prince’s chef had unfortunately become unwell and his apprentice Franz Sacher had to step in and create the world renowned dessert that is today — the Original Sacher-Torte. Franz Sacher’s son, Eduard Sacher then went to start what is now Hotel Sacher in which Café Sacher serves thousands of Original Sacher-Tortes a year. In the mid-19th century, Café Sacher was shipping around 100,000 of its chocolate-packed miniature heavens around the world on a yearly basis. Today, it is estimated that it ships around 360,000 around the world. One big fan of this item was Empress Sisi who would have a torte sent to her every single day.
Opulent decor and lavish seating
As you’re seated within Café Sacher, it will be easy to imagine being here in a previous century due to the service and period décor which consists of a red colour scheme, paintings, shimmering chandeliers and mirrors. It is a truly elegant and sophisticated environment to embrace one of the most famous items on offer, the Original Sacher-Torte. The opulent décor and lavish seating in which you can relax in is as enjoyable experience as the torte itself. The rooms within the café are compact but not over crowded. It has to be one of the world’s most beautiful cafes. It is a great throwback to history and gives you the opportunity to sit back in time and enjoy what is still today the most exquisite torte around.
The entire place is elegant and each table is covered with white pristine marble table tops, the finest tableware and napkins. When your order arrives (and of course, it will be or at least include, the Original Sacher-Torte), it will be presented on a porcelain dish with a serviette and fork. There will be a large whirl of cream on the side. If you order drinks, namely coffee, you will find that it will be presented on a large silver platter with a glass of water. This is because it is traditional in Europe to sip the water before you drink the coffee so that it remains on your palate after you have finished drinking it.
Indulge and savour every single mouthful
The Original Sacher-Torte is an exquisitely presented dense chocolate cake that is coated in chocolate on its top and sides. On the top of the cake, it has the word “Sacher” on a chocolate emblem. The cake has a thin layer of apricot jam under the chocolate coat and another layer that runs through the centre of the sponge. The sponge of the cake melts in your mouth and the apricot infusion by the thin layer of jam gives you a zing without being too sharp. It is served with a generous whirl of unsweetened whipped cream to set off the dryness of the cake. This means that the dryness of the sponge is tempered by the light-as-air whipped cream. I am confident that you will savour every single mouthful.
To create the Original Sacher-Torte it takes a total of 34 steps and the exact recipe remains a strict secret that is today only known by Pastry Chef Alfred Buxbaum and a few others. You may be surprised to hear that everyday a minimum of 5,000 to 8,000 eggs are separated by hand to create this item. During the high season, when demand of this delicious cake is being craved, around 15,000 to 18,000 eggs have to be separated. There is even a secret about the creation of the apricot jam and the chocolate used to coat the sponge. For example, all that is known about the special chocolate coating is that it is made from a combination of different chocolates created especially for Sacher and is mixed in a certain ratio at the manufactory. A significant amount of time, commitment and skill is required in creating the masterpiece that is the Original Sacher-Torte.
I must tell you, however, that in addition to the Original Sacher-Torte, there are a number of other delectable sweet items that you can enjoy during your trip. I would recommend that you order an extra dessert while you are making your pilgrimage to this temple of torte, as you don’t know when you will be able to return next. A recommended item that I would suggest is the apple strudel, which is phenomenal and notable for its delicate balance of sweetness and sourness. Your palate will be celebrating if it is given the chance to enjoy not only the Original Sacher-Torte but the apple strudel alongside it. Both are classic dishes that are best served at Café Sacher. As you enjoy every single piece, you will see that the waiting staff have smiling faces as they are pleased to see that you are enjoying their speciality and the reason that tourists love Vienna, the café culture and of course, its sweet treats.
An iconic place to enjoy afternoon tea in Vienna
You will be pleased that you endured the queue to visit the internationally famous Café Sacher as visiting Austria and not tasting the Original Sacher-Torte here is like visiting Rome and missing the Vatican. It is one of the most iconic places in which to have a hot drink and cake in the afternoon in Vienna and is Vienna’s version of the Ritz in London: a decadent affair full of finesse and Old World elegance. I would recommend that you enjoy the “Original Sacher Jause” which consists of the Original Sacher-Torte and either tea or coffee and is enjoyed in the afternoon. The cost for such an experience for two at Cafe Sacher is approximately 30 EUR (34 USD). Everything is executed with perfect precision and the interaction between guests and staff is harmonious and adds to the ambient setting. If you are unable to visit this timeless and iconic institution, then I would have to recommend that you visit the Sacher Confectionary and purchase an Original Sacher-Torte to take-away; there are also miniature ones available. A miniature version costs 4.90 EUR (6 USD).
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